How much should the UFC pay its fighters?

Dana White, UFC, Nick Diaz

Over the last few weeks, an important question has resurfaced: are UFC fighters paid enough? The answer seems to be ‘no,’ according to many of the promotion’s stars.

Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and BMF titleholder Jorge Masvidal both went on their personal social media profiles to complain about the UFC pay system and how much fighters are underpaid.

According to date samples collected by BJPENN.com, these fighters are indeed underpaid when compared to athletes in other sports.

As stated below, most other major US sports leagues share their dividends in a more fair way than the UFC does.

“Please don’t compare us to these other leagues. I wish we can negotiate for less pay like the other leagues where the players get half the revenue they generate. We are negotiating from like what 12% to maybe 18% of revenue we generate? We are negotiating down from way under 50% of the revenue. I don’t get paid on the hot dog you sell in the arena or the logo on the cage. I’ve never made a dollar on a ticket you sell. I get punched in the face for a living and even I know the pandemic or what’s left of it has nothing to do with it”, wrote Jorge Masvidal on his Twitter profile.

Note: most of these values and percentages are estimated, and some variables have been left out, but these figures are precise enough to give an idea about fighter salaries.

NBA

NBA revenue (2019): $8.7B

NBA minimum guaranteed salary: $898K/year

NBA roster: 450 players (15 players x 30 teams)

Players revenue share: 50%

NFL

NFL revenue (2018): $14.5B

NFL minimum guaranteed salary: $480K/year

NFL roster: 1696 players (53 players x 32 teams)

Players revenue share: 48%

MLB

MLB revenue (2019): $10.7B

MLB minimum guaranteed salary: $555K/year

MLB roster: 780 players (26 players x 30 teams)

Players revenue share: 48%

NHL

NHL revenue (2018): $5B

NHL minimum guaranteed salary (2018-19): $650K/year

NHL roster: 620 players (20 players x 31 teams)

Players revenue share: 57%

UFC

UFC revenue (2019): $940M

UFC minimum guaranteed salary: $10K/fight

UFC roster: 580 fighters

Fighters revenue share: 16%

As you can see, the UFC gives the fighters only 16% of its total revenue. But what if they paid as much as other leagues do?

In that case, the least-valued fighters on the roster should get at least $88,000 per year. Assuming they’d fight three times per year, the minimum purse should be about $29,000 guaranteed. That’s almost three times as much they’re paid currently.

If you’re wondering how we got that result, we firstly imagined that the UFC shared 50% of its revenue, then compared that result with each of the four major US leagues, keeping in mind how many fighters/players each company has. Finally we made an average of the four results obtained.

So, if we take Jon Jones’ latest disclosed purse, we could say it should have been $1,500,000 instead of the $500,000 he made as his ‘show money’.

What do you think about the UFC fighter pay system? Do you think they should make more money or they are paid fairly? Drop a comment in the section below.